Good news: The audio-based social network Clubhouse is finally bringing its app to Android after more than a year of iOS exclusivity, the company announced Sunday. Bad news: The beta is only available to US users and, like the iOS version of Clubhouse, will initially only be available by invitation. Not everyone can log in and take part in the app’s audio-only chat rooms.
Downloads of the app have reportedly decreased So for the past few months, Clubhouse is likely to be hoping that welcoming users to the world’s largest smartphone operating system will save users from another spiral. The app topped 9.5 million downloads in February but fell to about 2.7 million in March and dropped to just 900,000 in April, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.
In a blog post on Sunday, Clubhouse said it plans to gradually roll out the Android version to other English-speaking markets and then to the rest of the world. For people outside the US, you can pre-register to access the Clubhouse page on the Google Play Store to be notified when the app is available in your area.
“Our plan for the next few weeks is to gather feedback from the community, fix issues, and add some definitive features like payments and charter before rolling out more broadly,” the company said.
Over the summer, Clubhouse also plans to welcome millions of iOS users who are stuck on the iOS waiting list as it improves the app’s infrastructure. This includes expanding language support and adding more accessibility features.
Clubhouse download rates can decrease for a number of reasons. Some experts have theorized that the social media madness with just audio could have been a pandemic-era fad that helped people feel connected while stuck in their homes. With the introduction of vaccines and the reopening of many areas in the US, people these days might just connect more personally and leave the clubhouse in the dust. It’s also possible that interest wears off because of every other tech giant has either introduced a copycat app or is preparing it to get on the social audio hype train.
Another possible factor: two top-class Safety snafus hit the company in February amid a flurry of hype and celebrity signups, including Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In Sunday’s blog post, Clubhouse admitted that it struggled to keep up with the rapid growth of its platform earlier this year.
“Earlier this year the clubhouse started to grow very quickly as people all over the world invited their friends faster than we ever expected. This had its drawbacks as the load put strain on our systems – resulting in widespread server outages and notification errors and exceeding the limits of our algorithms for early detection. So we focused more on hiring, repairing, and building businesses rather than the community meetups and product features we usually like to focus on. “
The clubhouse is increasingly looking like the lightning bolt in the pan experts suspected, but who knows, maybe this highly anticipated launch on Android will turn things around. We have to wait and see.